Athlete Ombuds

Athlete Agreements and Marketing

The U.S. women's field hockey team snaps a team selfie in Rio.

Elite athletes may contact the Office of the Athlete Ombuds for confidential, independent advice regarding their rights and obligations regarding athlete marketing and commercial terms, and athlete agreements.

In particular, the Office of the Athlete Ombuds can assist with questions involving:

  • Right to image, right of publicity and general media releases
  • Athlete Agreements containing commercial obligations
  • Commercial/Sponsor appearances for National Governing Bodies 
  • Individual sponsorship agreements
  • The use of U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee or NGB marks and logos
  • Right to select Personal Performance Gear during protected competition
  • Rule 40 and advertising restrictions during a Games
  • Rule 50 and manufacturer logo restrictions (with International Federation regulations, or at the Games) during a Games
  • IPC advertising and manufacturer logo guidelines during a Games
  • Social media guidelines during a Games

Additional information may be found on the USOPC athlete marketing page

A National Governing Body of a sport may require an athlete to sign an agreement in order to participate as a member or competitor.

Such agreements may include:

  • Terms of participation
  • Code of Conduct
  • General media release
  • National Team/Event Agreement

An NGB cannot require an athlete to sign commercial terms as a condition of membership, or participation on a national team or in an event.  However, there can be mutually agreed upon terms which support both the athlete’s and NGB’s interests.

The USOPC policy regarding NGB athlete agreements sets out the basic parameters for certain agreements that an NGB should explicitly require of its athletes as a condition of participation, and optional commercial agreements that must remain voluntary, in a way that balances the rights and needs of both NGBs and athletes.  Athletes should consult the athlete agreement for their respective sport for more information.

Disclaimer: Please note that advice from any member of the Office of the Athlete Ombuds, including but not limited to information provided on this website, does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The Athlete Ombuds will offer neutral, independent advice to any athlete, and athletes should always seek legal counsel if they want specific legal advice or individual representation. See our homepage for our full disclaimer.